Archive for the ‘Art’ Category

October 14th was a typical Friday night in Harlem, a little windy but relatively calm until you reached 135th & Lenox.  As we walked by the Schomburg Center for Research In Black Culture  we could smell the food trucks, see the flowing gowns and bowties, but the most intriguing sense was hearing the plethora of voices speaking about the rise of women in Film and TV!  This was the night African Voices hosted the Reel Sisters of the Diaspora Film Festival & Lecture Series event.  Kim Coles, the lively and forever funny mistress of ceremonies, presented Cathy Hughes (Radio One & TV One) with the Reel Sisters Hattie McDaniel Award and Naturi Naughton (from Power) with the Trailblazer Award.  This one event is a part of a two week celebration of women of color in film and media held in various venues throughout New York City.

Before all the awards went out, my associate, Juanita Miller and myself had the opportunity to walk the red carpet and speak with a few of the participants, the award winners, and Carolyn A. Butts, founder of Reel Sisters. Butts was clearly proud of the hard work that her and her team put in to coordinate such a successful event.  “I am very proud of my team for putting this together. This is our way of congratulating these pioneering women for the tremendous roles they play in promoting progress in film and media for women of color!” Butts excitedly stated.

Butts’ gratitude and excitement was contagious as Kim Coles also expressed her feelings towards the event and the progress of women of color in general. When asked if she was excited to host the awards, Coles said “I am honored to be a part of this event, let alone host it, and I am very excited to see Naturi Naughton & Cathy Hughes.  I’ve worked for Cathy for years and can’t wait to see her receive this prestigious award. And Naturi is doing a fantastic job for herself and paving the way for many more to come.”  Coles also mentioned that she is “all about lifting women of color’s voices and an advocate for women. I am also an advocate for men, just not at the expense of women.”  

Phyllis Stickney (The Inkwell & New Jack City actress) talked about her own involvement with uplifting women of color when she discussed her relatively new program designed to assist young women in transition called “Get Wit It.”  The program is filled with workshops to teach young women independence, life skills, and job preparation.  Stickney spoke intensely about the advancement of women of color stating “the support system has changed and we need to give these women an opportunity to have their right of passage!”

On that note, the red carpet was rolled up and we all proceeded to the show.  Kimberly Nichole’s (The Voice) fresh and powerful voice opened up the ceremony. Then Coles vibrantly took the stage and hosted with passion. The audience was very receptive to her boisterous personality and gave an abundant amount of applause when she expressed her view on the progress of women of color in media.  Coles talked about how important it is to stay relative in a world of fast growing technology and for all of us to empower and educate the young women of today.

After a brief video about the history of Hattie McDaniel who had the first black syndicated radio show, Hughes was presented the Hattie McDaniel Award by Kevin John Goff, McDaniel’s great grand-nephew. Hughes although having back pain at the time,  graciously got on stage as the crowd gave her a standing ovation and showed their gratefulness for her hard work.  She spoke eloquently, thanking Reel Sisters for the award and reminded the crowd that hard work does pay off.   She brought to light that her dedication to making it happen was not painless or easy.  Hughes stated, “I remember awhile back I was working day and night on Radio One, I thought I had the first black syndicated radio show and I was so happy!  Then someone told me about Hattie’s. I thought to myself: well then, I will have the first television station!” She gave many accolades to her mother who was “kind and gave everything she could to make someone’s day better ” and how she incorporates that mentality into her work.  Hughes then expressed her gratefulness to the organization for having the ceremony and the importance of women encouraging and helping each other in order to stay progressive.  

Meli’sa Morgan brought down the house with a halftime performance of her hit “Good Love.”  Shortly afterwards, the next announcement was for Naturi Naughton to accept her Trailblazer Award.  From 3LW to being a main character, Tasha on Power, Naughton has fought tooth and nail to make her presence known in the world of music and film. She gracefully took the stage and stood in shock as the crowd rose to give her applause.  In her acceptance speech Naughton mentioned she felt like she “was still blazing the trail” and gave a huge shout out to her parents for believing in her dream.  She represented East Orange, New Jersey giving “thanks to New Hope Union Baptist Church for inspiring her to have this dream and to all the fans making this dream a reality.” Naughton finished with thanking Hughes for opening doors. She added, “who knows if I’d be where I am at right now.”

When all was said and done, Coles wrapped up the ceremony giving thanks to Carolyn Butts, Film Festival Curator Lisa Durden and Council Members Jumaane Williams and Laurie Cumbo for their hard work and dedication to Reel Sisters.  Group photos of everyone involved were taken and then the celebrities took time to take selfies with their fans.  Once everyone dispersed, the attendees took pleasure in taking photos in front of the step and repeat and paid tribute to Reel Sisters for having the event.  As a women of color who is involved in the world of media, attending the ceremony was truly a delightful and eye opening experience.  The amount of support that the men and women have towards the education and empowerment of women of color made the Reel Sisters of the Diaspora Film Festival & Lecture Series Award Ceremony irrefutably necessary. There is no doubt in my mind that the future of Reel Sisters is bright and many women of color will have the opportunities to make their dream a reality because of its efforts.

*Michelle Zattoni is the Director of Public Relations for Lehigh Valley Faces in Allentown, Pennsylvania.

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On this episode of TCOHHL (The Chronicles of a Hip Hop Legend) Radio, D.D. Turner and C.Stats welcome back to the show, Masta Ace. This time, the conversation provides an in-depth look at the making and intent of Masta Ace’s latest album release, The Falling Season; a concept album that offers fans/listeners access to Masta Ace’s formative years as a teen growing up [in the early 80’s] in Brooklyn, NYC. Hip Hop heads…This is an episode that you don’t want to miss!

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And regarding the playlist? Let’s just say that DJ Jay St. Paul blesses us with a mix that reminds us of Masta Ace’s dynamic career and why he is appropriately regarded as a legend.

Click below to hear the episode.

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It’s undeniable that Hip Hop [used as a tool to effect social change] has become a globally accepted culture. Beginning in The Bronx – New York City and making its way to the furthest corners of the Earth, a multitude of ethnicities/cultures that are supported by varying and opposing religious ideals are likely to have derived a respective iteration of Hip Hop while strictly adhering to the culture’s core principals. This is especially true for Kampala, Uganda – Africa based Kulture Future Kids (K.F.K.) – a Universal Zulu Nation supported local organization that looks to teach and inspire the youth of Uganda by using Hip Hop’s celebrated values and elements.

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On this episode of TCOHHL (The Chronicles of a Hip Hop Legend) Radio, D.D. Turner and C. Stats kick it with the organizers of the K.F.K. program to discuss life in Uganda, the intent of their community based social initiative, and the country’s local Hip Hop scene. And as usual, the #TCOHHL Team takes you on a journey of Hip Hop’s glorious history by way of the strategically constructed playlist.

Click below to hear the show.

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The Chronicles of a Hip Hop Legend has released a new marketing image that looks to further reinforce the brand’s intent of becoming the preeminent source of content for all things related to Hip Hop culture.

Roughly two years have elapsed since the launch of its Radio/Media counterpart, TCOHHL_Radio, and already the effort has amassed several dozen interviews with some of Hip Hop’s more celebrated contributors with more on the way. In addition, TCOHHL boasts an array of guests [from a Champion Chess Grandmaster to a Super Bowl contributing classically trained Musician] that support the lesser known 5th element of Hip Hop culture being, “Knowledge.”

From books to radio, The Chronicles of a Hip Hop Legend’s approach has proven unorthodox but refreshing in a manner that undoubtedly positions itself as a contemporary Subject Matter Expert for all things pertaining to the culture.

Stay tuned. TCOHHL has only just begun. Word is born!

Visit mixcloud.com/tcohhl_radio to listen to the TCOHHL Radio show archives.

Visit tcohhl.bandcamp.com to download the entire 1st book in The Chronicles of a Hip Hop Legend literary series.

On this episode of TCOHHL (The Chronicles of a Hip Hop Legend) Radio, D.D. Turner and C. Stats kick it with the King of Content, James ‘Kraze’ Billings. During our conversation we discuss his Long Island – New York roots, his journey towards becoming the King of Content, his past projects with FUBU and Audi, his Industry Muscle website and brand, his upcoming projects [including a documentaries on Hip Hop lyrical legends, Rakim Allah and Biz Markie] and a truly riveting discussion on Hip Hop’s cultural appropriation.

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And regarding the playlist? Not only do we open the show with a gap-bridging event, we satisfy your appetite with a pure and authentic Hip Hop experience.

On this episode of TCOHHL (The Chronicles of a Hip Hop Legend) Radio, D.D. Turner and C. Stats kick it with the creators of the Tuskegee Heirs animated series, Greg Burnham and Marcus Williams. During our conversation, we discuss their respective roots, the artistry of animation, their amazing animated series, and the unparalleled history and courageousness of the Tuskegee Airmen.

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Also, to celebrate the life, legacy, and genius of the legendary musician, Prince, we open up the show with a self-authored poem by TCOHHL Radio co-founder, Ishmael Street, followed by a review of why Prince will forever be regarded as an icon. And don’t worry, you appetite for a pure and authentic Hip Hop experience will be thoroughly satisfied.

Imagine the revered 80’s Autobot leader, Optimus Prime, serving as a symbol of American pride and patriotism. What about a rather large, pixelated image of the classic video game persona, Dig-Dug, emblazoned across a shirt with arrows drawn? Does this evoke a sentiment of nostalgia yet? At its core, this is what 80U looks to accomplish; apparel that represents the fond memories of youthful indulgence without the compromise of quality and style. Additionally, with its contemporary creative iteration of classic themes/entertainment, 80U looks to become the preeminent brand that successfully bridges the generational gap.

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For its maiden voyage, 80U released the Brooklyn Pack; a colorful and stylish pairing of his and her shirts that brandish the celebrated lyrics of Brooklyn’s home town hero, Notorious BIG and his voluptuous Protegé, Lil Kim. These items are currently available for purchase at weare80u.com at a comparable industry price point. For an additional discount, use coupon code: SPRINGCLEANUP.

Very simply, 80s University’s long term goal is to become a brand that provides quality and stylish novelty fashion options for the consumer that is looking to revert back to an era where some of their life’s most fond memories were created. And in doing so, bring awareness to those themes that were seemingly lost in time.

So consider this a first class boarding pass onto the 80U train. Our destination? An unexplored location within the fashion universe that grants one wish; an opportunity to, Brand New Your Retro.

For more information on the history of 80’s University, click on the image below. Also, to hear our interview with the Founders of 80U, click on the mixcloud link below.

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Youthful expression in Hip Hop has always been fundamental to the culture. After all, the youth collectively are and have always been responsible for the long-term sustainability and progressiveness of the culture. In a recent conversation, I went on record saying that Hip Hop and I are twins; there are very few recollected moments in my life in which Hip Hop hasn’t been a major fixture.

In this regard, DJ Kool Flash and I are similar. Where we differ however is DJ Kool Flash’s ability to profess her support of the culture [at her present age] in a way that is extremely passionate, expressive, and masterful.

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This week on TCOHHL (The Chronicles of a Hip Hop Legend) Radio (4/20/2016), D.D. Turner and C. Stats kick it with the talented future legend, DJ Kool Flash. During our time spent with DJ Kool Flash, we discuss her Hip Hop roots, her favorite Hip Hop artists, and equally as exciting and riveting, her introduction and ongoing skill development as a Turntablist. And regarding the playlist? Let’s just say it bridges the musical gap and effectively celebrates those Hip Hop artists that started out young…Like DJ Kool Flash.

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By: D.D. Turner, Founder/Executive Producer/Host
TCOHHL (The Chronicles of a Hip Hop Legend) Radio
Twitter: @TCOHHL_Radio/@HipHops_Wizard
Instagram: @HipHops_Wizard
Chroniclesofahiphoplegend.bandcamp.com

**You know the drill! Don’t be a #Turdbird! Visit mixcloud.com/tcohhl_radio to listen to our show archives. And while there, subscribe to our station to stay updated on our latest show releases.**

 

In 2000 years from now, it’s reasonable to think that Hip Hop’s story will be contained and accessible in a collection of texts that are as significant as the Bible, the Quran, the Torah, the Tripitaka, and the Vedas. In our sacred Hip Hop text, I foresee the opening sentence reading as follows:

“In the beginning, there was the DJ [or Disc Jockey/Crowd Controller/Cut Master/Mix Master]. For thou extremities, serving as an extension of thine heart and projecting the passions contained within thine soul, controlled the emotion of the crowd, and quelled the collective angst.”

I grant you that my zeal for the Hip Hop DJ is perhaps extreme [and even blasphemous based on the reader] but it is appropriate. Hip Hop culture started with the Disc Jockey. And it would be because of this foundational role, Hip Hop would be conceived and nurtured into the global powerhouse of a culture that so many of us have come to support and love. But like anything else that is nurtured, it inevitably matures and morphs into something that is an exact manifestation of its own hopes and dreams. And that is a refined, highly skilled, and progressed version of its predecessors and younger self.

With certainty, it can be stated that Hip Hop’s DJ Pioneers hoped for the progressiveness of the discipline and absolutely, DJ Rob Swift has contributed to leading the effort of fulfilling these hopes. More than a DJ, Rob Swift is a skilled Turntablist; a musician of sorts whose instrumentation is a result of his skillful and admired manipulation of sound through a carefully crafted and honed technique.

This week on TCOHHL (The Chronicles of a Hip Hop Legend) Radio, D.D. Turner and stats kicks it with the legendary, DJ Rob Swift. During their park bench-esque conversation, the duo discuss with Rob his DJing roots, growing up in Queens, his foray into academia, and a host of other topics. And because we’re sure of your inquiry about the playlist, we’re proud to announce that it’s ALL ABOUT THE DJ.

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By: D.D. Turner , Founder/Executive Producer/Host
TCOHHL (The Chronicles of a Hip Hop Legend) Radio
Twitter: @TCOHHL_Radio/@HipHops_Wizard
Instagram: @HipHops_Wizard
Mixcloud.com/tcohhl_radio

**You know the drill! Don’t be a #Turdbird! Visit mixcloud.com/tcohhl_radio to listen to our show archives. And while there, subscribe to our station to stay updated on our latest show releases.**

Hearing good music, in its originally composed format, makes for a great experience. But when that original composition is reinterpreted in a manner that explores and subsequently identifies additional depth in the piece, the listener finds themselves thrust into a subjective space where the sound’s melodic pleasantries are perhaps as ubiquitous as the smell of ripe fruit emanating from a NYC Produce stand on a hot summer’s day.

By far, Hip Hop has led the charge in the reinterpretation of classic music compositions; inherent to the existence of true Hip Hop DJs, Producers, and Beat Makers is the beloved activity of Crate Digging – The process of sourcing past obscure and popular music titles for the purpose of reinterpreting the original composition to make it anew. At the beginning of Hip Hop’s timeline, the infancy of this skill would be displayed by pioneering DJs [like DJ Kool Herc, DJ Hollywood, DJ Afrika Islam, DJ Grandmaster Flowers, DJ Afrika Bambaataa, DJ Grandmaster Flash, DJ Grand Wizard Theodore, Kool DJ Red Alert, DJ Marley Marl, DJ Chuck Chillout, and DJ Jazzy Jay], all of whom would maintain the collective momentum and engagement of partygoers by manually extending/looping identified drum patterns from previously released classic Soul/R&B compositions. This would come to be known as the Break-Beat; the keystone and arguably most fundamental component of Hip Hop’s, Rap music. Celebrated beat and production craftsmen that have and continue to indulge in this process while making advancements to the skill include the likes of the legendary J-Dilla, DJ Pete Rock, DJ Premier, DJ Quik, Dr. Dre, No I.D., Hank and Keith Shocklee (The Bomb Squad), Q-Tip, Kanye West, Timbaland, 9th Wonder, and Just Blaze.

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But also leading the effort of this discipline is Detroit’s own, Tall Black Guy. Tall Black Guy has coined a sound and music production style [amidst the realm of Hip Hop] that is truly all his own. To attempt to contextualize the depth of his creativity in words is to be of a disservice to Tall Black Guy and the effort of explanation related to his level of musicianship. So, in traditional TCOHHL (The Chronicles of a Hip Hop Legend) Radio fashion, we’d like to formally invite you to check out the upcoming, ‘Tall Black Guy Chapter.’ This Wednesday on March 16th, TCOHHL Radio kicks it with Mo-Town’s own, T.B.G. With him, we discuss his childhood, musical influences, production style, Hip Hop culture, past/present/future projects, and a host of other topics. And the playlist you ask? Let’s just say that this will be a great opportunity for you to be introduced and/or reminded of the skill and style of our homie, Tall Black Guy.

By: D.D. Turner , Founder/Executive Producer/Host – TCOHHL (The Chronicles of a Hip Hop Legend) Radio

Twitter: @TCOHHL_Radio/@HipHops_Wizard

Instagram: @HipHops_Wizard

Mixcloud.com/TCOHHL_Radio

Chroniclesofahiphoplegend.bandcamp.com

**You know the drill! Don’t be a #Turdbird! Visit mixcloud.com/tcohhl_radio to hear the interview. And while you’re there, subscribe to our station to stay updated on our latest show releases.